Replacement speedster Pat Cummins insists he’s ready for the rigours of Test cricket, despite being starved of first-class games the past two years.
The 22-year-old will join Australia’s Ashes squad in Cardiff before the Test series starts on Wednesday, replacing veteran Ryan Harris who was forced into retirement at the weekend by injury.
Cummins hasn’t played a Test since his fairytale debut against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2011 at age 18, with his focus for most of the last 18 months almost exclusively on limited-overs forms ahead of the World Cup.
Dogged by injury early on in his career, the paceman said on Monday he was prepared for the demands of the five-day game, after recent training with the red ball in Brisbane for Australia A’s tour of India later this month.
“I feel ready to go now,” declared Cummins in Brisbane before flying out to England.
“It’s always been the plan to get myself ready in case I’m a reserve, if not get ready for the Aussie As, so I’ve been bowling lots of overs up here and everything’s been going fine.
“It is a fair leap … but I have played quite a few (white-ball) games, so I do feel like the step-up isn’t as big as it might’ve been a year or so ago.
“I certainly feel ready for that step.”
With an Ashes debut unlikely at this stage given his standing on the pecking order behind Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle, Cummins was hoping to feature in Australia’s tour match after the second Test on July 16.
“I’d love to get an opportunity in that and get used to bowling two or three days in a row,” he added.
“My body feels really strong … I’ve been pretty lucky, I haven’t had to think about any niggles or anything for probably the last two years.”